Meet our Leadership Team

Bruce Alexander

CEO Owner-Broker

A native of North Carolina, Bruce began his career in the retirement housing industry, growing his company to a point to be successfully sold in 1993 to a publicly traded NYSE company.  In 1996, he founded Lifestyle Homes of Distinction, a development and construction company in Asheville specializing in building and marketing low-maintenance homes in lifestyle-rich communities.  In 2001, Bruce recognized the need for a real estate arm to help market his new home communities, as well as serve the public with general real estate needs.  

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lifestyle Properties consists of three offices – Downtown Asheville, South Asheville, and Downtown Hendersonville, specializing in resale properties and new home construction, comprised of real estate professionals with years of experience and knowledge of the local area and market.


Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran


Hendersonville, NC

Born and raised in Charlotte, NC and living in Hendersonville since 1992, Steve had spent over 20 years in the soft drink business holding management positions in finance, business systems development and sales. He then spent four years consulting and traveling domestically and internationally to assist other bottlers with the development of their businesses.

Steve's wife, Alice Cochran has been a real estate agent for over 38 years, and he followed suit in 1996, immediately realizing that real estate was a natural fit. They have three sons and eight grandchildren and enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.


  • Broker-in-Charge since 2006
  • Past President of Hendersonville Regionalization Council
  • Past Direction of North Carolina Mountains Multiple Listing Service
  • Past Director of North Carolina Association of Realtors
  • Member of National Association of Realtors
  • Started real estate career in 1996
  • Past participant in Mike Ferry coaching program
  • Past participant in Floyd Wickman's "Sweathogs" program

Joel Burkhalter

VP of Operations of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lifestyle Properties

Broker-in-Charge, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 

South Asheville/Arden, NC

Joel and his wife Kate have called the Asheville area home for 20 years.

Joel started his career in real estate in south Florida after leaving West Virginia in 1977.  His background in real estate began in 1989, concentrating on new home community development, sales and management with a national home building 
company.  The mountains called him back home and in 2001 he joined Bruce Alexander and the Lifestyle Homes of Distinction team.  Soon after they opened the general real estate area of the company.  
Joel enjoys camping, traveling and playing golf in his spare time.


  • Member of National Associations of Realtors
  • Member of North Carolina Association o Realtors
  • Member of the Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS®
  • Held Realtor licenses in South Carolina and Florida
  • Member of Asheville Home Builders Association
  • Realtor since 1989

Malinda VeraCruz

Malinda VeraCruz


Asheville, NC

Malinda is a native of the Carolinas, having lived in the Asheville/Hendersonville area for over 35 years. She has been active in the Real Estate Industry since 1989, first as a sales associate, and now having served in many capacities over the years as Broker in Charge, Training Director, and Relocation Director. Malinda is a nationally certified real estate trainer, having coached, mentored and trained hundreds of real estate professionals all over the Carolinas. She has faithfully served on the Board of Directors for the Hendersonville and Asheville Board of REALTORS®, as well as a Director for NC Association of REALTORS®.

Malinda was on the Founding Board of Directors for the Western North Carolina Regional MLS, when four area MLSs were combined into one regional system. She has a passion and desire every day "to make a difference in someone's life." Sometimes this may be in one's personal life, or it may be in a sales associate's real estate career.

Valen Vera Cruz, Malinda's husband, is also an active Real Estate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lifestyle Properties. They have 3 adult children and 2 grandsons.

They enjoy traveling as well as activities with family and friends.

Personal Statement

"Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."


  • Broker in Charge
  • Director of Career Development
  • Relocation Director
  • GRI Designation (Graduate REALTOR® Institute)
  • Member of Asheville Board of REALTORS® and former Director
  • Member of North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and former Director
  • Member of National Association of REALTORS®
  • Obtained NC Real Estate License in 1989